Submitted by Suzanne Weaver, Rocky Mount, North Carolina
Idea posted January 1, 2008
I begin the lesson by teaching the song, "Pizza Love" (from Music K-8, Vol. 8, No. 5).
I use a piece of poster board and title it "Pizza Love." I stick a strip of velcro from left to right about midway on the board.
I also make several pizzas out of poster board. I make a few whole pizzas on which I draw whole notes. I cut some pizzas in half and draw half notes on each piece, cut the other pizzas in fourths drawing quarter notes on each piece, and a pair of eighth notes on others.
I laminate these pieces of pizza and put velcro on the back of each piece so that it will stick to the strip on the main poster that is displayed in front of the classroom. A local pizza parlor gave me a pizza box to store the pieces.
I teach the kids to say, "pizza" to represent the eighth notes because it is two sounds on one beat, "love" for quarter notes, "goo-oo" for half or whatever you like. (One piece of pizza equals one beat.)
The students take turns coming to the front of the room and choosing pieces of pizza to stick on the poster board. They are told that they cannot have more than one whole pizza. They create measures of 4/4 music by placing pizza slices together.
One student may chose a half of a pizza with two single slices. Another student may chose two halves (two half notes). We then practice clapping the pizza rhythms and then transferring that rhythm to instruments.
I usually use this with second graders each year. I have had older students remember this strategy years later as they used computer notation programs. They create "pizzas" in their minds as they choose notes to complete measures.